Remigio practices pull-ups in the outside part of the gym he built in his garden.
Remigio practices pull-ups in the outside part of the gym he built in his garden.

72-year-old Remigio lives in Miraflores de la Sierra, a small village north of Madrid, Spain.

He was born on July 16, 1951 in Alba de Tormes, Spain. In '62, when he was 11, his family moved to France, and by 14 he was working so hard his hands were all chapped. His family finally returned to Spain in October 1968, having lived through the Long May of '68 in France. Remigio began to work as a painter but every winter he was unemployed. This led his father, the renowned poet Remigio González Martín Adares, to encourage him to train as a police officer so as not to be unemployed when he couldn’t paint and start earning a decent wage.


Thanks to his enthusiasm for fitness he graduated straight into the force in September of 1975 while Franco was still in power. Police work was pretty tough and Remigio worked everywhere from Prisons in Carabanchel through entry gates in embassies, to foot patrols in the worst areas.


After retiring at 56, Remigio was free to pursue his lifelong passion for nature. One day he visited the area of Miraflores de la Sierra, where he now lives. He saw houses for sale and decided to buy  one. He’s been here for 17 years, enjoying the peace, the closeness to nature, daily walks, reading, cycling and occasionally strumming his guitar. Remigio is a huge fan of physical exercise, often cycling over 10km a day around the nearby streets, and walking through the nearby countryside. He has constructed himself a home gym to keep in shape.


Although he doesn’t brag about it, he is also something of a saint for local stray cats, having built a large enclosure that takes up more than half his garden to house those that are too wild to live inside his house, but he can take care of them, feed them and keep them safe.

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How does it feel to be 72?

Honestly, it feels like you are visualising the end just around the corner and you feel overwhelming fear, not because of death, which I don’t care about, I’m not overly anxious about staying alive, my worries are stroke, immobilisation, and inactivity. Death doesn't scare me; I’ve already lived and for sure I don’t have much else to do here, but I’m scared of pain, I’m scared of suffering, and being immobilised.

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What do you look forward to?

Man, nowadays I don’t look forward to anything, I aspire to... be there for my family, the family that my wife and I have created, after getting married in ‘78, and to see my sons happy. Now I have a grandchild, we’re almost there. I don’t aspire to anything else. I have everything I need, I have more of anything than I need, I have, like everyone, been happy and unhappy, everything depends upon the circumstances and contingencies that arise, and that’s pretty much the gist of it.

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What is your biggest concern?

Right now, I’m worried about politics, right now with the panorama that we’re facing in Spain, after four civil wars, it all looks very unstable.

The Spain that my friend Machado (Antonio Machado, the poet) said: “The Spain of brass band and tambourine, closed and sacristy, devoted to Frascuelo and María, with a mocking spirit and a quiet soul must have its marble and its day, its infallible tomorrow, and its poet.” Well, we’re in those two Spains again, and it’s worrying, it’s worrying, not for me, but for my children and grandchildren, of course.

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Life expectancy 2023

82.33
years
Spain

About the photographer

Tom Bedwin

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Tom Bedwin is a British freelance photographer based in Madrid, Spain. He is interested in how humans interact with each other and their environment.

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